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Lawyer Lai Fang-yu on Domestic Abuse and Protecting Women and Children’s Right

December 12th, 2014. The Human Rights Protection Committee invited the famous “rescue lawyer” Lai Fang-yu to speak on protecting women and children’s rights and domestic violence cases in reflection of CEDAW implementation in Taiwan.
Citing multiple news coverage, Lai pointed out the lack of protection on the rights of women, children and disadvantaged witnesses, as well as flawed social value. Heads are turned when sexual violence takes place under the interplay between wealth and power. Sexual assault cases are attributed to women’s lack of discipline. Disadvantaged witnesses’ rights are overlooked during legal proceedings. While acknowledging the effect of Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act, Lai raised the issue of low conviction rate, with an average of less than one percent per year. She also called for more discretion on the part of the judicial personnel and full compliance with the rule of confidentiality. She is concerned with the reasons as to why the media always seems to obtain detailed information about ongoing investigations and sometimes go as far as to publicize images of female nudity to drive up sales figures. This, Lai said, is proof that our society is dominated by patriarchy and skewed in human rights values.
Having served as rescue lawyer for nearly two decades, Lai often sees victims of crime being further victimized during the judicial process. She urges the government to improve the status and participation of crime victims. She proposed that “…the victims should have access to all relevant document, be present during crime scene investigation, to receive a copy of all legal papers, and to have the rights to demand evidence, cross examine, debate, and appeal of their own accord.” Lai is also pushing for the use of representative to be legalized so as to prevent children from being traumatized during legal proceedings.
Control Yuan Member Wang Mei-yu, who sat through the entire the session, appreciated Lai’s decades-long effort in promoting the rights of the disadvantaged and pushing for revision of the law. The Control Yuan’s Vice President and Convener of the Human Rights Protection Committee, Sun Ta-Chuan worried that a lack of understanding in history and culture will result in social values being shaped entirely by the media. As a government branch that oversees human rights protection, the Control Yuan needs to be highly sensitive towards human rights problems to enable timely discovery and effective investigation. At the end of the session, Vice President Sun presented Lai the books documenting the Control Yuan’s 2013 Workshop on Protecting Women’s Rights.